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Choosing Keki N. Daruwalla for Thesis-writing
by Bijay Kant Dubey Bookmark and Share

Who built the seven gates of Thebes?
The books are filled with names of kings.
Was it the kings who hauled the craggy blocks of stone?
And Babylon, so many times destroyed.
Who built the city up each time? In which of Lima's houses,
That city glittering with gold, lived those who built it?
In the evening when the Chinese wall was finished
Where did the masons go? Imperial Rome
Is full of arcs of triumph. Who reared them up? Over whom
Did the Caesars triumph? Byzantium lives in song.
Were all her dwellings palaces? And even in Atlantis of the legend
The night the seas rushed in,
The drowning men still bellowed for their slaves.

Young Alexander conquered India.
He alone?
Caesar beat the Gauls.
Was there not even a cook in his army?
Phillip of Spain wept as his fleet
was sunk and destroyed. Were there no other tears?
Frederick the Great triumphed in the Seven Years War.
Who triumphed with him?

Each page a victory
At whose expense the victory ball?
Every ten years a great man,
Who paid the piper?

So many particulars.
So many questions.
– Bertolt Brecht in A Worker Reads History

Keki N. Daruwalla if we call him the Ted Hughes, the Robert Browning of Indian English poetry, it will not be a mistake as for his poetic weight, comprehension, verbose diction, phraseology, syntax, style and understanding of human psyche. Though a Parsi, he is composed of many parts and his personality keeps spanning over those shelves. An IPS by training and profession, he has worked in various capacities, had been in the RAW, analyzed international relations. After his retirement, he has also served as a Member of the National Commission for Minorities of India. But it would have been better had he told the story of his writing himself; had he written an autobiography which would have been the document of Indian English poetry too with regard to how he evolved, took time to grow and got the approbation. Sometimes we feel it within had he been with, he would have explained his terse poems rather than we struggling to mean them out. He is not an easy poet, but a very difficult one and whatever be that, let us have a tryst with him and his poetry to Persia, Syria, Assyria, Babylon and beyond. As he is a Parsi, it is quite natural that he will have a soft corner for the Persian connections, the land of Zarathustra he has not forgotten, but the Iranians have forgotten it all and had they not, they not would have pushed the Parsis, but today they are the indivisible parts of our society and their contributions to society we cannot assess it and we too cannot think without them. So instinctively something of Persia and Syria, Sudan, Libya and others gets inducted into his poetry as for the things genealogical, hereditary, as for location, dislocation and resettlement from Lahore to Gujarat to Uttarakhand to Delhi and somehow as for being in the RAW and assignments. So it is natural that his space will be a different cultural space. There is something of Hindustani spectrum as he has passed his days in that type of locale. Through the use of the word curfew frequently in his poetry, one may sense the communal tension or the trouble brewing as for his law and order and he engaged in maintaining it. When he had been posted in the Himalayan ranges, Uttarakhand, Badrinath and so on took his space and wrote upon inclusively. The rivers in spate, areas flooded and the talks centring around flood held the discussion of his poetry. Disease, death, tragedy, accident, curfew and so on are the subject-matters of his poetry.

There was a time when it was very difficult to submit researches on individual poets and authors of Indian English poetry as the books were out of stock, who published from where, none had been in the know of it. To work on them even in the nineties was a problem as those were out of print, out of stock, not available. Just the modern Indian English poets used to appear in the anthologies of poems and the researchers used to select them collectively focusing on modern Indian English poetry. It was a matter of personal acquaintance with the poet as well as personal access. If the addresses were known, the books could be collected and the researches to be done on individual poets. Many had directly asked Nissim Ezekiel for books by post or by visiting him. Many got the books photocopied for their works which was but their good luck. Side by side it was also true that the university heads used to mumble in allowing the research proposals submitted on the individual authors and writers. There are several matters which the people take up in doing dissertations. Those who are in jobs may not take up. Many were disinterested in Ph.D. doing as the research was not compulsory then. When promotions and ranks were started, Reader, increments for the Ph.D., a desirable requisite for moving to the varsity, people started craving for it. Generally, the job aspirants with a view to facing the interview boards used to opt for known British writers as for their researches which the senior teachers had been aware of and was acceptable to all. Indian English poetry was even then an evolving genre and the publishers were not interested in publishing them. Many had no idea with regard to the developments. The equations started changing when the universities started prescribing them as for the UGC.

Keki N. Daruwalla as a Novelist: A Study

For Pepper and Christ, 2010, Ancestral Affairs, 2015 are the novels which can be studied. Swerving to Solitude: Letters to Mama, 2018 is also before us to read and go through.

Though he is a poet first and got acclaim for poetry, instead of that we shall see how he writes the novel and what sort of novel is it. As a novelist, how does he fare? How the plot and characterization of his? Has the plot decayed in him too or not comparing him with novelist-poets not, but poet-novelists as he is first of all a poet and then a novelist?

Keki N. Daruwalla as a Short Story Writer: A Study of His Short Stories

A House in Ranikhet, The Minister for Permanent Unrest & Other Stories, Islands, Love Across the Salt Desert, Daniell Comes to Judgement, etc. are the collections of his stories.

Keki N. Daruwalla is not only a short story writer, but Jayanta Mahapatra and Shiv K. Kumar too are the writers of short stories.

Keki N. Daruwalla As A Travelogue-writer: A Study

When the news came out in the newspapers, we had been sure of it that he would a book on his Hamalayan tours and the result is the sequel of his trekking and journey taking us to the border fringes of Bhutan, Tibet, Myanmar, Pakistan, China and so on wherefrom we can look upon them. Riding the Himalayas, 2006 is the travelogue.

Keki N. Daruwalla As A Man And Writer: A Search For The Parsi Psyche

In this proposition, research proposal we shall try the man and his mind, the composition of the poetic persona, his myth and mysticism, his archetypes and motifs, fascination and inner will tending to or taking to Persia and beyond.

Keki N. Daruwalla: A Search For Roots & Tradition

If one intends to work on such a topic, one may have relate to his Parsi background and Parsi thoughts and ideas elating to psychic, ethnic and racial things and while doing that, one may also add to the quest for identity how has Daruwalla evolved with his journey from Under Orion.

Jayanta Mahapatra & Keki N. Daruwalla As Poet-Short Story Writers: A Study of Their Stories
Keki N. Daruwalla As An Evolving Poet: The Journey From Under Orion To The Present Times
A Linguistic Study of Keki N. Daruwalla’s Poetry: An Assessment

We all know it how Indian English poetry or Indian poetry in English has come of age and how the history of is it as Indian English poetry was not English, but the Indians writing in English.

The Use And Application of Syntax And Phraseology in Keki N. Daruwalla’s Poetry: A Linguistic Study

Though there is nothing as that to say earlier works and latter-day works of Daruwalla, as style is man, morning shows the day, what it was Daruwalla in the past he is in the latter too. Only one change can be marked in that he has moved to his Persian and Zoroastrian locations and myths.

The Earlier Verse Collections of Keki N. Daruwalla: A Critical Study

Under Orion, 1970, Apparition in April, 1971, Crossing of Rivers, 1976, Winter Poems, 1980, The Keeper of the Dead, 1982, Landscapes, 1987, A Summer of Tigers, 1995, Night River, 2000, etc. can be studied. Two Decades of Indian Poetry (1960-1980), published in 1980, shows him as an anthologist as he seemed to promote his friends of nondescript Indian English poetry at that nowhere in light together with his editing capability.

The Latter-day Verse Collections of Keki N. Daruwalla: A Critical Study

The Map-maker, 2002, The Scarecrow and the Ghost, 2004, Fire Altar, 2013, Naishapur and Babylon, 2018, etc. can be in comparison with the earlier ones. Collected Poems (1970-2005) appeared from Penguin, India in 2006.

The Dramatic Monologues of Keki N. Daruwalla: A Study

In the poetry of Keki N. Daruwalla, if one goes through the lines will come to feel it that there runs in parallel a dramatic monologue and the poet speaking through those lines of verse which is but the internal rhyme-scheme of the poet and the language he employs is something like Kiplingisque, Hindustani-accent Indian pidgin English as he is from Lahore. Apart from it he is verbose and bombastic, syntactical and terse, tedious and hard-shelled. Apart from that he is a Shaiva and is Sufistic too as he often talks of mazars and dargahs as had to deal with the people of Delhite and Indian upper ranges bordering the Himalayas and is himself one from Lahore. But something of the Punjabis is missing from him as he did his college education in Ludhiana.

Keki N. Daruwalla: A Search For Myths And Mysticism

Under Orion as a book is of Badrinath, the Ghagra in Spate, Shiva of Timarsain, the myth of Siva, cholera, communal tension, curfew and riot-torn landscape and so on of that type as he is accustomed to that type of landscape painting and scenery. Something it is of his Persian connection as he is a Parsee, something it is related to the quest for identity as often asked with regard to an Indian writing in English and something it is of his posting and placement. The poems are no doubt of a different space and archetype whatever be the thought and content.

There is something as apocalyptic in the writings of Keki N.nDaruwalla as he discussed cholera, typhoid, tuberculosis and epilepsy as his poetic diction to substantiate his imagery and metaphor. But it is also a fact that people in India used to die of cholera, small pox and typhoid, which but the British eliminated it. There had also been a time of polio and it was also vaccinated. Malaria too was an epidemic and it used to wipe out families and villages. Those olden-day cholera and malaria wards can still be found somewhere lying defunct. The palanquins which used to take the newly-wed girl brides used to be as for ferrying the cholera patients in the fare flung village areas. There had been a time of plague which marooned it the whole world and one can find the reference in Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. Now the people are talking about corona virus.

Whatever one says about, he is a man of guts and personality as he stands in unison with advocating for freedom of speech and expression which should not be censured. He is of the opinion that the parties should have the liberty of expressing, putting their opinions and views, but irrespective of that we keep suppressing and silencing the secular voices. But the standard of politics too has deteriorated with the people doing it and the things too have taken a drastic step lately as for different reasons whatsoever. M.M. Kalburgi’s involvement into Lingayat and extremist Hindu group-related controversies and thereafter the assassination left him disturbed and he made up his mind to return the Sahitya Akademi Award. We appreciate and admire the gestures of his as for setting it right the freedom of speech and expression but what to do if the practicing politicians and some people understand it not their rights and duties.

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09-May-2020
More by :  Bijay Kant Dubey
 
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